There is always another option.
That is what professional wrestler Sean Dunster learned during his struggle with drugs and alcohol.
Dunster, known in the professional wrestling world as the Tattooed Terminator Massive Damage, was in Lacombe earlier this month for the Canadian National Wrestling Alliance (CNWA) show at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.
Prior to wreaking havoc in the ring, Dunster stopped by Lacombe Upper Elementary earlier in the week to share his story with students as part of his Fight for Life program. “I didn’t know there was an option,” Dunster said, referring to his lack of knowledge for support groups to get help. He added that he never sought help for his addiction problems because he never knew where to go.
Now, he wants to share his message with children so they never end up in the same situation.
Another reason Dunster wants to share his message is because of the negative connotations that often come with being a wrestler. He said there is no question that wrestling has a history of drug and alcohol abuse within the sport and even said there are a lot of wrestlers who just aren’t nice people, but Dunster wants to change that image.
To change that negative stereotype, which Dunster refers to as wrestling’s ‘black eye,’ Dunster created the Fight for Life program, where he visits schools to speak and share his message with children. He also stressed again his desire not to have anyone go through the same experience he did.
“I feel it’s my duty to tell people, ‘This is what happened to me and this is what could happen to you. So be smart, don’t make the same mistakes I did. Learn from my mistakes’,” said Dunster. He added his inaugural presentation with the Fight for Life program was a year ago, here in Lacombe.
Dunster was first introduced to drugs at a very young age. He said he smoked his first joint at 11 and started drinking by the time he was 12. At first, using drugs and alcohol was fun for him, he said.
It was also something Dunster had some control over. For example, Dunster said he played football in high school and wouldn’t drink during the season so he could focus more on his performance on the gridiron, though he might celebrate with a drink after a game.
“Somewhere along the line, I just lost control,” said Dunster. “It wasn’t fun anymore. It became a necessity.”
Dunster said that he never sought out help for his addictions because he didn’t know such help existed.
However, he did seek advice from an alcoholic friend of his, one who was getting help through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), about his wife.
When Dunster told his friend he was worried about his wife drinking too much, his friend pointed out all the unhealthy problems that existed in Dunster’s own life, like heavy drinking and popping pills. Realizing he needed more help than what AA meetings could offer, Dunster checked himself into a treatment centre in Edmonton on July 13, 2009.
Dunster then went through a 90-day treatment program. He said the treatment was intensive, he attended meetings every day and also did counseling but the commitment was well worth it.
“After three months my life just got so much easier,” said Dunster. He added that his mind was clearer, he felt healthier and he had a more positive outlook on life.
Clean for nearly four years now, Dunster said it is still difficult at times, but he knows how to cope with his problem and knows what will happen if he doesn’t.
“I always have bad days and days that I wish I could go out and have a drink but I can’t, because I won’t have just one drink and I know that.”
Before receiving treatment and turning his life around, Dunster had pretty much hit rock bottom. He said he had lost his house, was behind on truck payments, his wife was ready to leave him and he would also have lost his two dogs, who Dunster said he loves like children.
Now, Dunster said he has regained all that he lost. He has a new place to live, paid off the truck and even bought a Harley Davidson motorcycle, something he said he has wanted all his life. He added he is now living a successful life. “I have a good job, I have a good training school, I wrestle all the time, I make money,” said Dunster. He added that he now works as head of security for five nightclubs in Edmonton when not wrestling or training wrestlers at his school.